Thay’s first major Spain Tour concluded last Sunday afternoon May 11th, with the powerful collective energy of thousands meditating under Barcelona’s Arc de Triomf, Passeig Lluís Companys.
An estimated 5,000 people participated in Sunday’s collective sitting meditation in the bright spring sunshine. Some of them had been waiting at the spot since early morning, and some shed tears of joy when Thay arrived on stage to offer the guided meditation, the chant of compassion, and a powerful Dharma Talk.
At the end, after singing songs together it seemed that nobody wanted to leave.
No coming, no going
The delegation of over fifty monastics left Spain their hearts filled with the joy of brotherhood and sisterhood. Everyone, monks, nuns, lay men and lay women alike, all found new “soulmates” on the path of practice, and experienced the deep healing, transformation and joy of practising together.
“This is not the end, but just the beginning of a beautiful connection between Plum Village and Spain,” said one.
Thay’s tour, entitled “El Arte de Vivir Despiertos” (“The Art of Mindful Living”) began on Sunday April 27 with a mass walking meditation for peace, followed by a public talk in Madrid city center. To celebrate their arrival, hundreds of his students in Spain laid an extra place at their dinner table.
The Sound of Silence
Sister Chan Khong opened the Madrid walking meditation for peace by guiding over 1000 attendees in a meditation on breathing when angry. The crowd then created “human microphone” to explain the practice of walking meditation.
There was a police escort to Templo de Debod, where the crowd sat in silence overlooking la Casa del Campo. At the end everyone enjoyed big group hug (with 1000 people) and we sang ‘Mira la felicidad’.
Peace is possible
“These practices can help in daily life, but how can they affect wars and serious conflict?” asked one person. ”I can practice when things are calm, but not when stressed. What can I do?” Asked another.
Thich Nhat Hanh and the monastics went on to lead a Five-day retreat for over 700 people at El Escorial, just outside Madrid. It was a joyful, relaxed and healing time for everyone, including the children.
In Barcelona, on Thursday 8 May, Thay offered a public talk to a full house at the city’s iconic Forum Building (Edifici Fòrum). You can watch the talk (with consecutive Spanish translation) here.
Happy Teachers will Change the World
On Friday May 9th Thay gave the first teachings to open a special course for educators at the University of Barcelona, which concludes on Friday May 16th.
The tour closed with the mass public sitting meditation event beneath the emblematic frame of the Arc de Triomf, Passeig Lluís Companys, in downtown Barcelona on Sunday May 11th. An estimated 5,000 people attended this celebration of peace in the heart of the city.
We hope you enjoy this beautiful portrait of Thay (below) by artist Michael Volpicelli, composed with Thay’s words in Spanish. Fine art prints are available.